"You Have Stept out of Your Place": A History of Women and Religion in America

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"You Have Stept Out of Your Place": A History of Women and Religion in America, by Susan Hill Lindley. Westminster John Knox, Louisville, 1996. 500 pp. $35.00. ISBN 0-664-22081-9.

DURING THE LAST QUARTER of the twentieth century, many excellent studies on the role of women in American society have uncovered a history that was present and formative but neglected for centuries. Given the prominence of women throughout the history of the church, women in religion has proved to be one of the richest areas of contemporary historical studies. Lindley has made a significant contribution to historical scholarship by means of an extensive narrative history of women and religion in America.

Much of the territory Lindley covers is familiar to those who have followed the emerging field of women's history. Several aspects of Lindley's work, however, make it unique. Most notably, the book is comprehensive in scope, moving from women in colonial America to expectations of women's influence on American religion in the twenty-first century, while offering a depth of reflective insight on the issues, individuals, groups, and movements she addresses. …